Learn about the role, the salaries, the responsibilities and much more
There’s no doubt that the food a restaurant serves is the main attraction that brings people in the door. While the dishes must be delicious, excellent customer service is just as important. A good waiter/waitress can take the dining experience to the next level, but incompetent or inattentive wait staff will leave a bad taste in the customer’s mouth.
Waiters/waitresses are some of the most important roles in a restaurant and can be a good way to get started in the industry if you don’t have much experience on your CV. As a waiter/waitress, your most valuable tools will be your soft skills and dedication to customer service, everything else you will learn on-the-job.
What Does a Waiter/Waitress Do?
Your number one responsibility as a waiter/waitress is to serve and interact with customers while keeping them happy.
This begins with greeting and seating the customers, before you take their food and drink orders. And during the ordering process, your customers will likely have some questions for you.
A good waiter/waitress knows their menu by heart and is ready for any question that comes their way. You should know which dishes contain meat, allergens, or gluten in order to accommodate customers with food sensitivities. You should be able to explain how the dishes are prepared and be ready to make recommendations for your favorites.
Once the guests make their order, you will serve them drinks and then bring out their food. While they are dining, it’s important to be attentive to your tables and make sure they have everything they need in a timely manner. If a customer drops a spoon or fork, get them another one as soon as possible so they can continue enjoying their meal while it’s hot. If their glass is empty, ask them if they want another drink.
As a waiter/waitress you will work closely with the other team members in the front of the house. The front of house is normally made up of the following roles:
- Head Waiter/Waitress
- Front of House Manager
These roles will change depending on the type of restaurant you work in. For example, smaller family restaurants without a bar will likely have only a few of these positions while a large or more upscale restaurant may have them all.
What Skills and Experience Does a Waiter/Waitress Need?
No formal experience is necessary to work as a waiter/waitress so this is a great position if you are looking for an entry level job in the hospitality industry. Some high-end restaurants may ask for prior experience in the role but most places will train you on the job if they believe you are a good fit for their team.
If you are looking to build your up waiter/waitress CV before you begin your job search, this course from International Culinary Studio is a great place to start.
If you have any type of customer service experience on your CV, make sure you highlight it. Dealing with customers in a friendly manner, even when they are upset or complaining, is a valuable skill for a waiter/waitress to have.
The most important tools for success as a waiter/waitress are your “soft skills”. For a waiter/waitress, making the most of your soft skills allows you to do your job with confidence and deliver excellent customer service at all times.
The six soft skills you must have to be a great waiter/waitress are:
- Conflict solving
- Strong teamwork
- A good memory
- A high-energy personality
- Quick decision making
Some of these skills might come to you naturally, but you can also develop many of them while working and gaining experience at your first front of house job.
What’s the Career Path for a Waiter/Waitress?
The career path will differ depending on what type of restaurant you work in. For instance, a smaller, family-run restaurant might have less room for you to progress than a larger restaurant or chain. After proving yourself as a server, your manager may put you in charge of an entire section before promoting you to head waiter/waitress. Many restaurants will promote an excellent head waiter/waitress to FOH manager if they show leadership potential.
How Much Does a Waiter/Waitress Make?
Like all hospitality jobs, the average salary varies depending on where you work. This is especially true for waiters/waitresses because most of them earn tips on top of their salary. At the right restaurant, these tips can add up to a significant amount of additional income.
According to Salary Explorer, the average salaries are:
● €26,700 in the United States ($31,500)
● €27,400 in the United Kingdom ($32,400)
● €16,000 in United Arab Emirates ($18,900)
● €15,200 in France ($18,950)
● €14,800 in Italy ($17,500)
● €12,400 in Spain ($14,650)
Working as a waiter/waitress is a great way to start your hospitality career. If you love providing excellent customer service, working as part of a team and have a friendly personality, this could be the right role for you. Upload your CV to Hosco and start your job search now.